DR. MARK PORTERIE — Port Arthur ISD celebrates milestone reach for school year

Published 12:06 am Sunday, March 5, 2023

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On March 3, 2023, we ended the third nine-week grading period. Many thanks to our students in the Port Arthur Independent School District, our hard-working faculty and staff and our amazing parents who have supported us.

In most cases, our parents have been a support, not only for their children, but also for other relatives and friends of their children who attend schools in PAISD.

This week, we will begin the final quarter of the school year. We are rounding third base and heading toward home plate.

Dr. Mark L. Porterie,
superintendent of schools

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Since August, a lot of hard work has gone into the delivery of instruction. As a community, we must thank our teachers for the work they have done in addressing the deficits our children brought with them into this school year, largely due to a lack of stability during the last three years of COVID.

Have you thought about the fact that we have third graders who were in kindergarten when we were introduced to COVID?

These students abruptly pivoted to virtual learning without any preview of what going to school online would mean or how it would be done. The objectives of their first grade year was to get them engaged in learning either online or in-person; develop social skills in the presence of social-distancing barriers; and determine whether or not they should wear face masks throughout the entire school day.

Now, here we are with third graders preparing to take the STAAR test online, on grade level and with an expectation to master all assessments. Our teachers have had to fill in learning gaps and teach skills that needed to be taught two years earlier and carve out time to introduce current skills.

KUDOS to the entire instructional staff across the district for addressing the academic, social, emotional and every other need of our students.

More and more, I understand the need for our children to be a part of our athletics department or some of the various extracurricular clubs and organizations we offer. While we are addressing academic, emotional and everyday life needs of students, it is just as important that we address their need for physical activity.

We expose our children to a variety of sports and related activities within the district. It is important for human development to include exercising your body and learning how to physically and emotionally compete throughout life.

We realize we must start at the elementary level with introducing our children to organized sports if we want them to succeed once they reach the secondary levels.

Currently, we have an upper-elementary basketball league for boys and girls that welcomes the participation and support of their peers via cheer and dance squads. There are sport camps throughout the year, sponsored by our athletic coaches and performed by our student athletes, in the areas of football, volleyball, softball, soccer, and basketball.

We have what we refer to as lifetime sports, which are physical activities you can learn in school and participate in for the rest of your lives. Our middle and high school campuses offer tennis, basketball, volleyball, track, football, cheerleading, drill team and marching band for boys and girls to participate and compete in.

Our high school campuses collectively offer golf, cross country, powerlifting, softball and baseball. As of today, we have multiple sports our students are competing in: play-off games for boys basketball; baseball, softball, track (both MS and HS), tennis (both MS and HS), golf, powerlifting; and soon, middle school soccer.

We are so proud of our athletic accomplishments thus far this year: varsity football – district champs; girls basketball – tied for 2nd place in district; boys basketball made it to round 4 of the playoffs as of March 3; Jefferson Middle School football team – district champs; Lady Titans powerlifting: the entire team qualified for regionals; Alondra Gallegos is a state qualifier.

We are PAISD proud of all our athletes who give 1000% each time they step into their respective competition arenas.

The athletic department is preparing for summer strength and conditioning for all our athletes. We give a huge THANK YOU to our parents who support their children at our athletic events and ensure these student athletes make the grade in order to be able to continue performing and competing.

Our goal is to develop well rounded children who will become well rounded adults.

A successful athletic program is not based solely on a high school staff putting all the pieces together at the varsity level. It takes a community to help us achieve the goal of guiding our students towards athletic and academic scholarships that will provide them the opportunity to earn a free college degree in exchange for their contributions to colleges or universities.

Success at the collegiate level – and occasionally beyond, in the realm of professional sports – begins with building a positive culture of quality athletic and academic performance, beginning with the youth at our elementary campuses, and continuing throughout high school programs.

Developing a tradition of excellence takes years of practice and performance, from the youth programs, to middle schools, and then to the high school.

PAISD aspires to develop smart athletes who will build successful careers and healthy lifestyles based on the foundation they receive as a part of our athletic and extracurricular programs.

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at mporterie@paisd.org.